A teenage boy was arrested Monday morning in Siem Reap province’s Sotr Nikum district after a video clip of him assaulting a female classmate went viral on social media, according to police.
Authorities began looking for the 16-year-old suspect on Friday after footage of him attacking a 14-year-old girl in front of a classroom full of students was widely shared on Facebook, said Tep Channa, Sotr Nikum district police chief.
“We searched for him after we saw the video on Facebook and then we received a complaint from the victim’s family [on Sunday],” he said. “The following day we arrested him at about 8.15 a.m. when he tried to sneak into his house.”
Mr. Channa added that the suspect had been hiding at friends’ homes to avoid arrest since the incident.
The attack followed a heated exchange of words between the suspect and victim, he said.
“According to the suspect and victim, they used to play fight with each other but this time he went too far,” he said, adding that the boy punched, elbowed and pulled the victim’s hair.
The suspect will be sent to the provincial police headquarters Tuesday, the police chief added.
According to a statement posted to the Ministry of Education’s website Monday, the incident took place at a Siem Reap high school on Thursday.
“After having watched the video clip, the Ministry of Education studied and found that the incident took place in the grade 9B class of Damdek High School in Sotr Nikum district in Siem Reap province,” the statement said.
The statement added that the ministry was now working to increase security at schools across the country.
“[T]oday, the Ministry of Education is cooperating with the Ministry of Interior, especially the national police, to create a security system in the schools…. We will start with Phnom Penh first. At all the schools in the Phnom Penh, we need to station one security official and a police officer.”
A link to a clip of the incident posted to a local newspaper’s Facebook page Sunday had accumulated more than 12,000 “likes” and 3,000 “shares” as of Monday evening.